Success is rooted in routine
A few years back I read a book that talked about how some companies get in “the zone.” Being in “the zone” meant that the company hit a point where success seemed easy, almost automatic. They had created a customer-generating machine. All they needed to do was turn it on.
I’ve occasionally seen this in the secure destruction industry and I’ve seen plenty of examples of the opposite as well. When I think about the companies in our industry that found the zone, I noticed they were very disciplined; in short, they found a recipe for success and built processes to replicate that success on a daily basis. These routines were in place for everything, from how to handle service inquiries to how community shred days were conducted.
Also, newsletter production was on a schedule and they had a system in place for developing a range of specific content. Their drivers knew the routine for making sure containers were completely empty and clean before they were put on the truck. Their company blogs had content posted every Tuesday about a predetermined set of topics aimed at providing customers and prospects valuable information. On the days industry business journals were published, they comb the pages to see what was happening with local businesses that might expose opportunities for their companies. They set a goal to hold one lunch ‘n’ learn every month at a prospective client’s office, and they had a system and timeline in place for make it happen. And, the reason they had monthly goals was because they understood their events must be manageable. You see, by definition, a process is something that has to be sustainable. It has to run like a machine.
However, none of what I just said means that these firms are incapable of reacting to unusual situations and opportunities. In fact, they have a process for reacting to unusual situations and opportunities.
If you think your firm lacks the routines and processes necessary to enter the zone, don’t get discouraged. Even if you’re a one-person operation, you can start by scheduling some time to develop proactive marketing, maybe starting a social media site or get involved in a local buying group organization. Your first routine may well be to build more routines. Once a month, pick a process you will put in place to improve an aspect of your operations or marketing goals.
In time, there is more than a good chance you will have a customer-generating machine; a machine operating will within the zone.
September 18, 2012